Well, it happened. I told my husband I hoped to avoid it, had planned on dealing with it but last night it happened, just as I thought it might.
Backstory: last night we hosted a dinner party. As a hostess, I feel confident in the food category, but am only gaining confidence in other aspects, like conversation and presenting a nice home. Contrary to many in our lovely community, we live in a humble home and because of health challenges, I can’t always physically do what I want to do to keep it the way I’d like to. But on my list of things to get done before the party was a slim little area that had collected dust and dirt but I needed my husband to pull out an appliance to help me get to it. The day went on, other needs emerged, food was made, lawn was mowed….doorbell rang. Yes! We love these people and were thrilled to have them over. Then, my lovely friend stood at the perfect angle in which to see the Dreaded Dirt. How do I know for sure she saw it? Oh, she saw it all right. Her eyes registered recognition, neither of us said anything and we moved on.
Ugh!!! Two ideas fought for mind-time: she will never want to come here, especially to eat again….and, if she ever needed confirmation that I’m not perfect, she just got it. Growing up, I didn’t know what dirt was until I went to other places outside our family. Those Dutch mothers and aunts and grandmas kept impeccable homes and the men’s garages were no different. It was a revelation when I saw things a little out of order. Who does that? Well, now I know: people who live normally, whose homes are used by people they love and by those who don’t kill themselves to keep up a facade.
We’ve all been to people’s homes who keep a certain door closed because that’s where all the stuff they didn’t have time to deal with has been tossed. I remember the surprise and envy at the transparency of someone who confessed they toss items in their dryer and oven before people come over. Then my personal favorite, “Let us know when you’re coming so we can make it look like we don’t live here.” Awesome.
Last week when I dropped in on my friend who longs for a considerably more organized house, she said as she opened the door, “ignore my mess.” There was a mess. But what I saw was her smile, her daughter coming to hug me, a chair pulled out for me to sit and visit. I would have gladly stuck my sleeves to syrup and kicked laundry out of the way to receive such a warm welcome. In fact, I’m darn glad there was a mess because she showed me her true self. She didn’t try to cover anything up, or impress me with a facade that would have meant an hour of stress before I came. I’d rather see piles and smiles, thank you very much.
So hey world, I’m don’t keep a perfect house. Although I opt for tidy and seem to constantly be doing something to clean something, if a student or friend calls and needs to talk, I’m there. I’m glad you find much about which to compliment me, but what I’m working on within myself is presenting the true me: sometimes there’s dirt. I don’t like it but when I think of those I love, I value that they let me see all sides of them. And sometimes that means a little dirt.